When an individual passes away, their last will and testament (if there is one) will be handled through probate. This is simply the legal process through which legally written directives are executed according to the person’s wishes. It also includes the appointment of a person the deceased person requested to administer their estate. Alternatively, it is used as a verb “probating” in terms of handling the entire process of gathering assets, debts, and administrative expenses. The executor or personal representative will be responsible for handling this process.
Personal Representative and Executor
The personal representative or executor is the individual responsible for distributing assets according to a will. Without a will, an administrator will be appointed by the probate court. This individual is responsible for the entire estate and is largely in control of the estate.
A court will often handle matters of the estate and distribution of the estate according to the person’s will. This specialized court oversees the entire probate process to ensure that the will is carried out in accordance with the law.
Testate is a term that refers to the individual who left behind a will and the information contained therein. The estate will be given away according to that will.
Joint tenancy with rights of survivorship (JTWROS) refers to an ownership process that includes property and assets in which a pair of individuals are equal owners. If one part of the partnership passes away the assets automatically go to the other part of the partnership.
Commonly used to refer to the person who has died but who did not leave a last will. This situation requires the state to assign an administrator for the assets.
This term refers to a document that is added to a will as it stands. It supersedes the provisions currently in the will.